Unclean

Oct 8, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli (12) looks on prior to game four of the American League divisional series agains the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 8, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli (12) looks on prior to game four of the American League divisional series agains the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

 But the voice spoke again: “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.” Acts 10:15

Read: 1Kings 14:1-15:24, Acts 10:1-23, Psalm 133:1-3, Proverbs 17:7-8

Relate: Who are the “unclean” ones for you? For me it’s Red Sox fans. No, stop laughing, I’m serious. If you want proof of the existence of evil in this world just go watch the last four games of the ’04 ALCS. God bless my sister for her obedience to God and moving to Boston to minister to those heathen kids. I pray for her regularly. Trying to raise up a generation of godly young Jets and Yankees fans in the shadow of Foxboro Stadium… *shudder* Maybe someday I might go out there and visit her. I’d rather not but if I have to I will be sure to bring along a hazmat suit. I wouldn’t want to be contaminated or anything.

As a person who is fascinated by other people and cultures it really is hard to seriously put my finger on just how Peter would have felt when God told him to go to those gentiles. Perhaps it’s like a Tea Party activist joining a neo-communist student group. Maybe it would be like an American army veteran being sent to an Afghan village full of Taliban loyalists. Maybe it would be someone from Mumbai sent to Islamabad (or vise versa), a Jew to Palestinians or a Hezbollah member to Jews. Who are the “unclean” for you?

React: In the early church Paul was the missionary to gentiles but that didn’t let Peter off the hook. Each of us, like Peter, have a responsibility to be obedient and intentional in reaching out to those we have the opportunity to influence. Sometimes that will be a lot of fun. After all, one of the most effective ways to witness to neighbors and coworkers is to invite them over for dinner. Other times, that might mean sharing with that guy smelling of alcohol who stops you on the street asking for a buck. It might mean showing love to that person who just rubs you the wrong way. It might even mean taking a trip to Boston. We have to be obedient to God even when it means getting dirty. After all, He got down and dirty when He came to save the broken mess that was me.

Respond: 

God, I thank You that You loved me when I was unclean. I was a dirty broken mess and You took it from me and nailed it to the cross. Sometimes I’m still an unlovable dirty broken mess because I choose not to live in the freedom You have won for me. Knowing that, and because I want to be more like You, help me not to be so critical of other people’s dirt. Help me not to think myself above, or stay aloof from the uncleanness of others. Help me to show love… even when it isn’t easy.

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38 thoughts on “Unclean

  1. Amen! Admittedly I do believe that this may be the #1 lesson for me in all my own situation. It was part of my environmental teachings growing up. I didn’t like it then or now THO I have been guilty of being a snob myself. Now I am not always as groomed as I’d like to be …. sighs…

  2. Funny and catchy start to this wonderful post! I like the way you express your faith and I trust it. Believe me, that is hard thing for me to say! I wrote a post called, “The Meaning of Regret” this June, I was wishing you would give your “take” on the way I converted a selfish, wishful poem to an ex to a prayer. If you have time to comment, that would be appreciated! Thanks, if not, take care and I have been following and liking your Christian walk.

  3. Thank you for this post!! I have really been a Peter latey…wrestling with how to respond to a teenaged friend of my son’s whom I don’t trust a lick. You are right, and I knew that deep down all along. Just needed to see it in print:-) God bless!!

  4. Excellent reminder to all – many times we forget that we too were dirty – and therefore who are we to judge others? We sometimes forget to pray for those who might make us uncomfortable – it is easy to pray for those we know personally(friends, family, etc.) – but a homeless person we see on the street? Thank you for the very meaningful post!

  5. Great post!

    Being prideful and too self centered, we tend forget what Jesus did for us, but as you say.

    Help me to show love… even when it isn’t easy.

    Thank you for reminding us to see ourselves in others. When we have empathy for others, we can begin to love them. And to God, we were all unclean. The uncleanness we see in others — that is but a shadow of the filth God sees staining our own souls.

    Until we accept Jesus’ sacrifice and love, we remain unclean. Unless we allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify us, we remain unclean. Only if we return God’s love and strive obey Him will we be glorified with Christ Jesus.

  6. Wow. Great stuff. I will have to follow up with reading further of your material. Thank you for sharing your honest experiences and words. Most of all thanks for hooking me up with some sweet sung music! 😉 J9;)

    • Peace be upon you. Thank you for reading and responding. I apologize for my error when writing last night. It should, and now does read, “a Jew to Palestinians or a Hezbollah member to Jews.”
      Mistakes like that happen when I am writing long after I should be asleep.

  7. Amen! Romans 12:16b: “Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.” This made me think of that verse.
    I struggle with this, being in a high school where people want to hang out only with the “coolest.” I am happy to be in a learning assistance class, where I get to associate with people that have been labelled “scum/skids” by the more popular students. Happy to be able to share Jesus’ love with them.

  8. Father Your Holy Word says when two agree. Well two are agreeing on that prayer. Thank You Father for saving a wretch like me and help us all to Love, right where we are, and who we are given. Thank You Father for using Your precious child to minister to me. Bless them Anoint them

  9. I once was Unclean, but now I’m SAVED! I walk by my lords FAITH, Not by my own SIGHT any longer. My personal story & testimony I wrote in a little book about a BIG Addiction. God has worked through me since the day I almost got away with leaving this world for good by my own hand, but then, I felt a presence, and hand reached out, grabbed me by my hospital gown, and pulled me back from a Dark Ledge in which I was half way over!

    I felt and heard a whisper of a voice tell me,…..”Not yet Catherine, your purpose here has not been done for me”, I’ve been in recovery for 6+yrs, and through my book and Recovery blogs, I share and spread recovery “HOPE” to others who still suffer from any type of addiction. YOUR Blog here is Simply *Beautiful* God Bless, Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon http://www.simplesite.com/CatherineLyonAddictedToDimes & my New Recovery Blog http://catherinelyonaddictedtodimes.wordpress.com 🙂 🙂

  10. I sometimes think that Paul may have looked at the command to go to the unclean in a way we can’t comprehend. He’d been bombarded by Jesus and His love and Presence on the road and blinded. Maybe he was full of hope instead of trepidation. Full of faith. I want that bombardment sometimes so my lethargy and prejudices will fall behind.

    Good article and thought provoking. Thanks for writing it.

    Shannon

  11. Wow! I’m so glad I check out your blog, BJ! You have humor and your have compassion – two of the qualities I most enjoy and respect. You write, ” because I want to be more like You, help me not to be so critical of other people’s dirt. Help me not to think myself above.” Right ON!!!

  12. A number of years ago counselled a man for salvation who was troubled by homosexual desires. I found the experience troubling mainly because I had never encountered a situation like this before. A wise brother in the Lord, however, simply told me , “Think about Paul in Corinth and how he felt as he ministered”. That changed my perspective entirely and gave me a new appreciation of the early missionaries reaching out into Roman / Greek society. We need to be moved out of our comfort zones

  13. Reblogged this on ChristianBlessings and commented:
    Lord please help me not to condemn those who are in Christ Jesus – those who are being sanctified whose life evidence in the sight of man needs improvement – the work in progress. Fill me with Your love which does not discriminate but accept all who have been redeemed.

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